Did you know there were acceptable levels of child porn possession? I didn't think such a thing existed. Any child porn is too much child porn in my book. But a teacher named Geoffrey Bettley who was convicted of possessing 189 pornographic images of kids on his computer was just told he can go back into the classroom.
Let me repeat that. A teacher. Who had a computer chock-full of child porn. Is going to be allowed to teach children.
In fact, after taking a look at Bettley's case, which included evidence that he'd viewed child porn on and off over a period of three years, Britain's National College of Teaching and Leadership professional conduct panel concluded that he had "relatively few" images of naked kids, so he doesn't have a "deep-seated" problem. They added that because he's a "family man" with a good track record as a teacher, he belongs back in the classroom.
You know who else was a "family man" with a good track record? Jerry Sandusky.
I don't need to take that one any further, do I folks?
I'm guessing the members of this panel don't have kids? And have never seen an episode of Law and Order: SVU?
The emphasis on the fact that this guy was a family man is ludicrous.
He's a family man who had 189 images found on his computer. Ergo, he's a sicko who shouldn't be around kids.
Too hasty? Too much?
Listen, people make mistakes. But this was not some guy who accidentally stumbled on to a photo of a child being abused, freaked out, and immediately called the cops to say, "OMG, this is awful."
This is a guy who spent three years poking around the Internet to find depraved images of children being hurt. He liked them enough that he downloaded them on to his computer. He didn't care about his own family enough to stay away from those images.
He didn't stop at one. He kept on going.
He enjoyed it enough to keep on going.
If a guy had one image, I might be able to accept his apologies. I might be convinced that it was accidental.
But once you get past one image, once you get past the possibility of an accident, you have a child porn problem. And a child porn problem puts children at risk.
Do you think this guy belongs in a classroom? Where do you draw the line?
Image via espensorvik/Flickr